Managing Rapid Growth
The U.S. healthcare industry has experienced convulsive changes during the last five years. Two trends have offered immense growth oppor- tunities to health insurance companies: the 2010 Affordable Care Act
(ACA)’s mandate for near-universal healthcare insurance and the severe recession peaking in 2009, which increased the number of people qualifying for state-sponsored Medicaid health coverage.
The growth-focused PMO in WellPoint Inc.’s Government Business Division
(GBD) has taken full advantage of these two opportunities. Originally part of Ameri-group, which WellPoint acquired in 2012, the PMO helped power the Indianapolis,
Indiana, USA-based company’s transformation into the country’s largest Medicaid
managed care company. The GBD now accounts for 45 percent of annual revenue
at WellPoint, and the PMO manages a US$4 billion project portfolio.
Yet meeting ambitious growth goals in a competitive market wasn’t the only
high-pressure test the PMO has easily passed in recent years. After Amerigroup’s
2011 acquisition of Health Plus, one of the largest Medicaid managed care companies in New York, USA, the PMO was tasked with seamlessly combining the two
organizations. It had to ensure continuity of care for nearly 500,000 people with
zero erosion of membership and 100 percent service integration. Leading a project
team of 500 people across both companies, the PMO did that and more as local,
state and federal regulators watched for infractions stemming from the integration.
“There is no room for error in launching new products, services or entering
new geographies,” says Pete Haytaian, executive vice president of WellPoint
and the PMO’s executive sponsor. The PMO’s “partnership with the business
is crucial to our success, and the strategic significance of their work cannot be
emphasized strongly enough.”
The PMO’s growth between 2010 and 2014—from 13 to 57 practitioners—
reflects the broader organizational growth it spearheaded. It also reflects steady
executive-level sponsorship before and after the PMO became part of Well-
In the end, the PMO proved to be the compass that sailed the orga-
nization through what WellPoint calls the “perfect portfolio storm” of
simultaneous organic growth, ACA project delays and large-scale integra-
tion initiatives. PM
Organization: WellPoint Inc.
PMO started: 1996
Location: Chesapeake, Virginia, USA
THE WINNER IS…